I am a 1-8th grade art teacher in Green Bay, WI. I have concocted some of these lessons or stolen them from other talented teachers. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Japanese Temari Cards

I took a graduate class at St. Norbert years ago on Math and Art. Here is one of the projects from that class. I did these with students about 10 years ago, but I think I will do these again. I did them with students in 5th--8th grade. It might look complicated but the pattern of stitches makes this quite easy. First students poke the holes with a push pin onto black tagboard (I have copies of the pattern). Next students use about an arm's length of crochet string and begin making their diagonal stitches one way around the circle. When they have gone all the way around they go back the opposite way to make these "peaks". If students do this correctly the back has all straight stitches. I have directions--only through snail mail... let me know if you want a copy.

Clay Mugs and Vases Middle School

I find students really love making something functional. We will be having hot chocolate really soon when they are all fired! Then we have the "Queen of Coiling". This lovely girl is very into ceramics. LOVE IT!! Her Grandma got this prized vase!

Clay Castles

This project was a continuation of our Medieval unit. I had never done these before. . . not sure I will again. These took a lot of time. We first made our castles in paper so that we would have templates to trace onto our slabs. Then students rolled and rolled slabs. Then we had to get them to be the right moisture content to stand. Hmmm. Students are painting them now and finding it difficult to get into all the little nooks and crannies. I bought spray paint tonight and I am going to take them outside and go for it!! I will post our results later. This is something I always wanted to try. Next time I would give students more structure. Each student was given a bin to put their work in (dollar tree :) ) Their base had to fit inside the base. This project took a lot of clay! Whew! I did clay mugs with the other 2 classes and I am happier with those results. We shall see . . .

Fall Festive Corn By 1st Graders

Students used erasers on pencils to dot paint these colorful corn cobs. Students learned a little about the different types of corn, and then (thanks to Dad) I added the husks for a nice effect. Great Job! Thanks Sarah Cherovsky for the idea.


Students created paper bag mushrooms for a community art project. Students viewed installations created by Doug Rhodehamel. He uses a lot of recycled materials which goes along with "Aldo Leopold" school very nicely :) My 4th and 5th graders had some good discussions about temporary art such as ice and sand sculptures and what might happen to our "Spores" when we put them outside. We all agreed that we will wait for snow to put out our colorful mushrooms. Photos to follow when these are placed in the environment!

Mondrian Fall Trees by First Graders

Students looked at Mondrian's Winter Abstract tree. We drew step-by-step and created our trees using lines and shapes inspired by the image of his tree. Students then traced with black sharpie, oils pastels and tempera cakes to paint. These really scream fall to me!

"A Single Sheet of Paper" Inspired by Peter Callesen

Peter Callesen makes insane works of art using intricately cut and sometimes sculpted paper. His work ranges from small scale works to installations all created with a simple material. He makes paper look amazing. I love his work. Students were introduced to this modern artist--yes he is still alive today--not some dead guy :) We created our own works using paper and some skillful cutting. I gave a strong lecture on exacto knife use!


Middle Schoolers created a modern coat of arms that had to include 2 types of shading, a paragraph explaining their design, symbols that represented them, a shield, and a motto. Students worked large and were able to incorporate found images, along with many copies of heraldic animals and mottos. We practiced drawing a ribbon or scroll to place their motto on. It was fun to see their personalities represented.

Curved Line Designs

Thanks "Art with Mr. E"!!! These are middle school examples. It was nice to start the year with something abstract and a little mindless, yet beautiful. Students looked at OP art examples and really focused on shading with colored pencils. These look complicated, but the directions are really easy. I did them with my 4th and 5th graders, but larger markers, bigger shapes.

It has been awhile. . .

Clay in a Day is my favorite!! These adorable owls were made from terra cotta. The magic happens when students color with oil pastels, then we give them a bath in watered down black tempera paint. Next students carry them (in a paper towel) to me at the sink while we rinse and like magic the color appears. Great lesson to teach the concept of contrast. They all turned out this amazing. Great project where everyone left happy and it was a HOOT! We did these after doing torn paper owls.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


6th graders created woven baskets. Students viewed baskets made all over the world out of different materials. Then they received a wooden base, and cut stakes to put into the holes. Next class students soaked about 2 1/2 inches that was sticking out of the bottom to create a woven bottom. Next, students picked about 8 strands of reed. All materials were kept in brown grocery bags until next class. Students filled the sinks daily with hot water for soaking. To change the shape of their basket students manipulated the stakes. Students were careful to not have "snaky stakes" which meant that that strands were pushing against them altering their shape.

Lastly, student ended their baskets by gently curving each stake next to the one in front of it. Students could also add beads to their stakes. This has been an old stand by of mine. I have been doing these for 10 years, and the kids--yes even the boys--love them!

Warhol Soup Cans

2/3 Artists designed soup cans complete with company name, type of soup, picture of ingredients and spoon. Students learned how to draw a cylinder and were introduced to Andy Warhol's work and life. Students looked at a variety of labels for the important information and what would get a consumer's attention. "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists--Andy Warhol" DVD was a great ending to our unit. Kids got really creative with soups such as "Candy Corn Soup" and Even "Smores" Soup! One of my favorites showed tiny snails floating in the broth!

Fancy Paper Snowflakes

These were a huge hit last year--so I decided they would be perfect for my 4/5 students to do again--on the last week before Winter Break. It is a great make and take day for them. I do a step-by-step process and draw some of the directions on the board. Students can do many variations including adding more layers, using colored paper, some even used "fancy" scissors to give it more pizzazz. A few donated them to the art room :) Just make sure to borrow staplers from the office or other teachers to help the process.

High Contrast Grid Self-Portraits

7/8 Students used Photoflexer, a free internet program to manipulate their photos. Many chose to crop and use the Inkstamp function. Students then used these images to create an acrylic painting. First students gridded out their image, then painted. These were striking--I need to take more photos!

Oodles of Stools

6th-8th Grade Focus Learning Time Students created thumbnail sketches to design stools that are as unique as they are. Now if only I could get the younger students to stop fighting over the one they want to sit on! Acrylic paint with sealant. I hope to spray paint the hardware this spring. I have wanted to do this for so long!

Clay Mugs

7/8 Students created clay mugs using a slab method. Students got pretty creative with this assignment. Right before Winter Break we drank hot chocolate and celebrated our success. Wahoo!

Painted Furniture

Focus Learning Time is a new concept for our school this year. Each morning 6-8th graders work in an area of strength. Here are some of my FLT students who worked on concepts for painted furniture and beautifying the art room stools--more pics to come soon!